- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 12, 2020

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Sunday said nothing in existing data suggests that children will be less safe returning to school amid the coronavirus pandemic and that any flare-ups could be dealt with on a “school by school” basis.

“We know that children get the virus at a far lower rate than any other part of the population,” Ms. DeVos said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And again, there is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them.”

“In fact, it’s more a matter of their health and well-being that they be back in school,” Ms. DeVos said.

“It really is a matter of paying attention to good hygiene” and following guidelines on masks and social distancing where appropriate, she said.

She said any flare-ups or hot spots could be dealt with on a “school by school” basis.

There has been a resurgence of coronavirus cases across the South and West in recent weeks, leading some to question whether K-12 schools can indeed reopen safely for in-person learning in the fall.

President Trump last week said he would be putting pressure on governors to try to get schools open as scheduled, which for many districts would be next month.

He criticized guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening schools as too costly and expensive.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday that the CDC would soon be issuing new guidelines.

On Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said his agency doesn’t plan to revise the guidelines but will likely be putting out additional reference documents.

Ms. DeVos declined to answer directly when asked whether reopening schools should follow the CDC guidelines, which deal with recommendations on topics like wearing face coverings and social distancing.

“The CDC guidelines are just that — meant to be flexible and meant to be applied as appropriate for the situation,” she said.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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